Let’s be honest – who doesn’t want a better-looking booty? While opinions about the best butt sizes and shapes may vary, the backside is one of the most popular target areas (just after abs) when working out.
Appearance aside, the glutes are the largest and strongest muscles in your body, and because we spend a lot of time just sitting on them, they definitely should be a focus of your workouts. Made up of three muscles – the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus – the glutes drive hip extension, abduction and adduction. In other words, they are integral in many movements, including activities of daily living, exercise and sports.
Fortunately, there are lots of exercises to train your behind. Here are some of the best exercises for a better butt.
Best Exercises for a Better Butt
- Squats – As you may know, squats are one of the top exercises to strengthen the glutes. Bodyweight squats are a good place to start, but add weights to boost the burn and results. This includes a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, a resistance band and a medicine ball. You can use free weights or machines like a hack squat or seated/supine squat press. Incorporate variations, like deep squats, pulse squats, sumo squats, split squats, side squats, squat jumps, single leg squats, banded squats and more. Adding variety will enhance your lower-body conditioning.
- Lunges – Just like squats, lunges are critical to a strong lower body and one of the best exercises for a better butt. Again, using resistance is important to shape up your glutes, so take on different tools and various forms of the exercise, including rear lunges, forward lunges, lateral lunges, curtsy lunges, pendulum lunges, decline lunges, walking lunges and plyometric lunges.
- Bridges/Hip thrusts – Lying on your back, with knees bent and lifting the hips and pelvis toward the ceiling targets your glutes big-time. You can do this with just your body weight, or place a barbell, dumbbell or medicine ball on your lap to increase the challenge. Opt for variations including single leg bridges, bridges with your feet on a stability ball or foam roller, and bridges with a resistance band above the knees.
- Hip extensions – You can do this exercise several ways to build a better butt. On all fours, extend one leg straight back with a flexed foot, and lift and lower the leg. Or, lying flat on your belly, extend your arms and legs and lift and hold in a superman position. Try standing in Warrior III pose, lift and lower one leg. If that’s too much, hold onto a ballet bar or the wall to position your torso parallel to the floor, and lift and lower the leg. Alternatively, perform a single leg deadlift, raising the leg straight behind you while you lower the torso.
- Donkey kicks – An oldie but goodie, get down on all fours (or lower to elbows versus hands), and lift one leg with bent knee and flexed foot toward the ceiling, tightening the glute as you push up, then lower toward the floor. Try the exercise with a dumbbell behind your knee, or with a resistance band around the foot.
- Fire hydrants – Another classic exercise that works. From on all fours, open one leg with a bent knee to the side, then close back together, while keeping core engaged and hips level.
- Step-ups – While holding dumbbells, step up, one foot at a time, on a bench; then pause and step down. The higher the step, the more difficult this will be. Another option is simply to climb stairs to hit your glutes.